Messages of support to mark 5th anniversary of the
Council of Ex-Muslims of Britain
Final Updated 28 June 2012
As you know, the Council of Ex-Muslims of Britain (CEMB) is celebrating its 5th anniversary on 23 June. We’re asking people to attend the fundraiser luncheon if they can, donate, and send messages of support to mark our birthday. Here are some messages we have already received.
Well done for standing up for rational and free thought, a universe and it’s life that exist due to physical and not magical forces. I applaud each and every one of you. Carry on in your wisdom, benevolence, rationality and humanity.
An ex Christian
To Maryam and the Council of Ex-Muslims
I’d just like to add my thanks and appreciation for what all of you are doing. Here’s to a world freed of imaginary sky-gods!
Good for you and all.
Hyoid, from Neckbone, PA, USA
When ex-Christians think they’re ostracized and persecuted, we should remember the even greater strength and determination it takes to be an ex-Muslim. May you find fortune a gift of the Universe through all of your Lives.
Congratulations CEMB, on being a beacon of hope to many, and not least to progressives like my humble self who constantly encounter other “progressives” to whom Islam is above criticism! Happy 5th anniversary!
Courageous! Thank you for standing up. Happy anniversary.
Congratulations on your 5th birthday! I wish you success in your important work.
Happy anniversary. Thanks for your great work.
I have been following your work in this blog.
It’s fresh, inspiring and make me put questions where I had answers
Paulo Alves Reis, Chateau-d’Oex – Switzerland
In a time when the cancer of fundamentalism is ravaging the Islamic community, and Islamist bullies are determined to drag the whole world back to the seventh century, the CEMB provides much needed support for former and questioning Muslims, as well as those of us affected by religious fundamentalism. Please accept my best wishes for the work you do.
It is very difficult for those in America who choose to reject the Christian religion. They face anger, hate, accusations, insults, loss of friends and family, loss of income (losing a job if employed – losing customers if an employer), and are unable to participate in government.
For Muslims, add to all of the above … the threat of injury or even death.
You people have redefined the word “courage.”
Congratulations on 5 successful years, and may you be a victim of your success and become unnecessary!
Stay free, stay fair, stay fun!
Allegra Sloman, Vancouver, Canada
Congratulations on the anniversary. Any organisation that celebrates those who have discovered the truth and turned away from their misogynistic, hate-filled and irrational religion should be congratulated. The difference with Islam is that it promises vengeance – murder – in THIS life, as opposed to the non-existent next one.
Your bravery is recognised.
Member of Atheist Ireland
Very best wishes to the CEMB on your 5th birthday. In those five years you’ve done great work to help provide new friends and a community to those would could be ostracised for transistions in outlook and thought.
Your campaigning work for rights both here and outside the UK has helped create change, and drawn attention to the fact that thought-crime is still an issue for so many in the world. The freedom to pursue evidence-based reasoning should not be accompanied by fear and loneliness – so here’s to the CEMB’s next five years.
Deborah Hyde, Editor-in-Chief, The Skeptic Magazine
Way to go, dear friends! I hope your enlightened example will inspire many more to break free form religious oppression! Good luck in your activities – and get your message especially among women: every mother who is able to think for herself will help her children think as well, rather than obey ideologies and tyrants!
My name is Mirko, I’m 22 and I’m from Italy. Your work is incredible, what you did is right and i hope all people of the world follow the message you have sent. I support your campaign and all you do for the women. Continue to fight and don’t give up Maryam.
For always being there, giving the highest form of empathy and sympathy and having thought provoking discussion in its various forms, I thank the forum members and staff. (As well as giving me the chance to be on T.V)
I just registered after reading Maryam Namazie’s FtB blog. She said to come over with any words of support and encouragement to all the ex-Muslim people here.
I do have nothing but appreciation, as well as a sense of awe, for all of you. I grew up in a family that was very wishy-washy about religion, in a secular country with pretty liberal teachers along the way in all my schooling. I didn’t have a culture surrounding me that insisted on belief and certainly not one that threatened violence if I ever voiced apathy or disbelief. I know some of you have come to your rejection of Islam from such dangerous places and I just want to let you know that I am amazed by not only your bravery, but your integrity for not remaining a mental prisoner of (if I may steal from Hitchens) the spiritual North Korea.
I wish all of you well, and certainly offer all the encouragement I can muster for all of you to keep on fighting for humanity, peace, justice and freedom. Every mind that you open up to reality and clarity is one less that will be imprisoned by fear and hatred, all in the cause of an imaginary dictator. Best luck and prosperity to all of you.
I come here for the people, and the atmosphere. There’s a great mix of intelligent discussion, venting of frustrations, shared support, and general silliness. As The Wyre said, there’s a solidarity here that you can’t find anywhere else, and it’s present even if a topic has nothing to do with Islam or religion. This forum is just as much about moving past Islam as it is about Islam.
And it just happens to be truly the best damn forum on the internet.
I’ve bolded the part that really sums up how I feel about this place. In the early months after I left Islam, I had no support outside of the people here. And even still, 4 years later, there’s nobody else that quite understands how Islam still has an effect on my life. I remember everything I learned and all the love and support I received (and still do!) from people here, and how it’s helped me grow and change and make sense of my life. And I hope to offer the same sort of support to others when I can. This community is invaluable.
CEMB has been a safe place for me to learn to stand and move forward after the effects of islam..
it has helped me realize what i need to work on, and has given me a sense of solidarity..
CEMB has become a place to turn to for advice, comfort, debate, and friendship.. it is in essence giving me what anyone would want from a family.. i have seen boys learn to discard their misogynistic ideas, and girls embrace their strength.. i am grateful to the group of people who courageously continue to speak out.. the voice of CEMB must continue to be echoed for the sake of those who have no voice.. CEMB will always be part of me..
After I left Islam I felt like lost any sense of support and community in my life, and this forum helped me through challenging times when I was reassesing my values and beliefs.
It was a deep comfort to discover a community of people who had shared the experience of deconverting after leaving Islam, and it’s been a pleasure to meet so many unique and insightful people.
Thanks to everyone who helps to run and maintain this site. It is a great sanctuary for those whose lives have been unfortunately affected by the Islamic ideology. But for me and others it is also so much more. It is a place where people with this shared experience can connect with one another. I’m truly grateful for the existence of this site, and feel extremely fortunate that I managed to stumble across it.
Wish the entire CEMB organization the best of luck in the upcoming years. There is much to be done, and imho it’s gotten off to a great start.
I’d like to thank the moderators who work so hard to make this place the awesome place it is, and all the other members who make great, thought-provoking, clever, humorous (like the thread on how to poo in your boyfriend’s place), and deep posts and threads.
Even though I lurked around this place for a long time before registering for an account, this place has provided me with a place of normalcy, where I can come and look around and know that I’m not the only one to experience the frustrations, joys, and pain of leaving Islam, and losing one’s family in the process. This place is a community that supports its members and gives great feed-back on life in general and provides me a place to laugh after a hard day. As I’ve stated before in some of my posts, that this place literally gives me a chance to laugh and distress after a difficult day, and gives a chance to say things that I wouldn’t otherwise be able to, due to not having anyone to talk to about being an ex-muslim or the funny and not-so-funny aspects of Islam that I am still shedding and leaving behind all these years later. I am by no means a new ex-muslim, but still, it’s something that still affects many parts of my life, leaving Islam that is and it’s good to know that I’m not the only one.
If it wasn’t for this forum, I wouldn’t have the same opportunities to talk to other ex-muslims. I personally don’t know any other ex-muslims other than on this forum, but this forum gives me the place to be able to connect with other ex-muslims which makes life that much easier. CEMB has provided one with a safe place to laugh and let off steam and spend time with other people who really do get what it’s like on this road, even though our back-grounds and experiences are all so very different.
Don’t know where to begin.. Before I had even registered on the forum it was such a great help, reading everybody’s story in the introduction threads made me realize that leaving Islam was an actual possibility. I although I was kind of misunderstood on this forum for a while I found people who were we ready to show me care and support without even knowing me properly. I’ve never experienced such solidarity even as a Muslim. The truth is I’d feel unbelievably lonely if I didn’t have this place and I don’t know what I would have done without it. This forum is beyond the internet and I’ve made good friends who I meet and contact regularly.
I wanna thank the mods for their great contribution towards the forum, especially berbs and Hassan I wanna thank other members on the forum for making youtube videos, and lastly Maryam.
For me this forum is pretty much the only support I have. You guys have been here for me through one of the hardest times in my life, and I can never repay that. Thank you all, so much.
As someone who has never been a Muslim, CEMB has been incredibly important in making me less anxious about the direction Islam is taking in Britain. The worries persist, but the brave, intelligent, free-thinking ex-Muslims who make up the majority of the forum’s members, are in the vanguard of a quiet social revolution.
Forgive me for being pompous, but I really can’t overstate how important this movement is. It is friendly, inclusive and tolerant, a desperately-needed bridge between sections of society that are increasingly divergent.
And it’s a laugh a minute on here too.
The Council of Ex-Muslims has played a crucial role in campaigning on behalf of individuals whose right to free expression has met with brutal repression from the religious right and in challenging the rise of Islamic fundamentalism. Very few organisations and individuals have displayed the courage needed to challenge religion and all religious fundamentalisms. Keep up the good work!
Rahila Gupta, Writer, UK
Congratulations to the Council of Ex-Muslims of Britain on your 5th anniversary; your campaign has never been more important….. As political religion murders, maims and oppresses it takes real strength and courage to stand up and say no… especially when the common response is to cower in fear, appease, and apologise to the aggressor. Please keep up this amazing work – millions of people (ex-Muslim or otherwise) are depending on your strength.
Anne Marie, One Law For All Spokesperson, UK
Congratulations and please accept my admiration at the courage and determination you have shown in the struggle for reason and justice.
Sincerely, Aidan Magee
What you do is important and it is important to support you.
Activists who struggle for the right to not believe in spoon fed, unverified claims about that hypothesised fairy at the bottom of the garden, god, or to be uncertain about the matter, are more important than those who struggle for the right to believe such superstitious twaddle.
In fighting for this right you have stuck your head above the parapet, inasmuch that apostasy in your former religion is so often met with the threat of death, from supposedly peaceful, gentle people.
Your cause (our cause) is everyone’s cause, because no one is free from the threat of religion, not the apostate, not the atheist nor the believer in a different form of religious fantasy.
It shouldn’t be illegal to state the obvious… there is no God. The fact that it offends Muslims to such a degree is testimony to how shaky their evidence is. I support your efforts to get these Bronze Age idiots out of a position of control.
Auckland, New Zealand
Keep up the fight and congratulations on reaching five years of telling the world of Islamic rubbish.
Keep up the good work!
with love and respect,
Joe Higman, UK
Dear Maryam Namazie,
Congratulations. You have achieved so much in five years. The institutions of state may shrink from recognising your contribution to freedom and dignity because they lack your courage. The rest of us admire you as one of the outstanding leaders of our time.
Alan Parks, Cambridge, UK
Just a little email of support from Adelaide, South Australia.
I am happy to send you a message of unconditional support.
The freedom to make one’s own decisions about one’s belief system, irrespective of one’s background, is fundamental – and never more so than when freeing oneself from the mental shackles of any irrational belief system, such as religion in general and Islam in particular.
For me as a pacifist, freedom of thought – including freedom from imposed adherence to irrationality and mysticism – is a core part of my beliefs.
(As, of course, is my commitment to the freedom of others to freely adopt such belief systems, however silly I might think them to be. But in the latter case, one isn’t so commonly threatened with death for having the “wrong” views.)
So – happy birthday CEMB! I couldn’t afford the tickets to your celebration, but my thoughts are with you.
Albert Beale, London
Dear Maryam Namazie,
I would like to congratulate you and all the supporters of CEMB on its 5th anniversary. I am really proud to be part of such an organization who helps people who are suffering from religion’s strict laws and religious propaganda.
CEMB and Maryam Namazie are very close to my heart because I know how religion wants to dictate and control people’s life and do not allow you to think, speak or write freely.
Thanks to CEMB for this great support and help to me and people like me.
Asif Hameed, UK
Professor, dr. odont. Dag Ørstavik, Norway
The Council of Ex-Muslims is doing very important job defending the freedom of belief and speech of ex-Muslims and critics of religion. Keep up the good work!
Tommi Paalanen, Philosopher, Finland
While being busy myself with so many other things you really do such an important work!
You are the real heroes of our present time, Really, Really, Really!
And you protect the freedom of all of us! Thank You so much!
I do keep you in my mind, and I wish you good luck with all your projects & and above all I wish you safety and good protection on all levels!
All the best,
Your organisation brings a ray of hope to those of us who believe in freedom of conscience, freedom of speech and of the primacy of the rule of rational law above dogmatic theocracy. Please keep up your invaluable work and know that the silent majority of decent people wholly support you.
I fully support that all should have freedom of expression.
I strongly oppose the sentence on Alex Aan by the Indonesian authorities and call for his immediate release.
Could someone can tell me which authorities I should best send my protest to have maximum effect on behalf of Alex Aan for his immediate release.
Defending one’s religion needs the courage to listen to things that do you do not agree with.
Threats on those that do make comments is no way to behave – where is the understanding and tolerance in that.
What are such religious bodies frighten of – if their followers are faithful and secure – they should not be worried because someone does not agree with their particular religion otherwise it threatens the freedom on their followers to may genuinely want to express any doubts they may harbour.
Bully boy army tactics can keep people in line against their freedom of Will – But for religious groups to allow themselves to use such tactics demeans any religion.
Best wishes and congratulations on the anniversary!
Wishing you continued strength and success
Dr Brian Robinson, UK
I would just like to say congratulations to all at CEMB and happy 5th birthday!!
In a world where it is still difficult to renounce religion – Islam especially – it has been illuminating to watch this organisation grow these past 5 years.
The support members receive must bring immeasurable relief and the public awareness raised (in renouncing Islam) incalculable.
Here’s to another successful 5 years!!
Martyn N Hughes, South Wales, UK
Words cannot express my respect and admiration for the integrity and courage of Maryam Namazie and all ex-Muslims who refuse to be bullied into silence.
Words are also insufficient to describe my disappointment about the (very nearly) collective hypocrisy, spinelessness, and cowardice of the West in this matter, especially of (the very substantial subset of) western liberals and leftists* who ought to be your most ardent supporters, but are instead focusing all their efforts on making it impossible to say anything against the oppressive ideology from which you have escaped without being labelled a racist “Islamophobe”. We have a lot to learn from you, and I salute you on your 5th anniversary.
[* To any right-wing, white supremacists, Breivik-sympathizer who might agree with me for the wrong reasons: I am not your friend. You and the Islamo-fascists are both part of the same evil as far as I’m concerned.]
I applaud anyone who is willing to stand up and be counted in the fight against those who would enforce their beliefs upon others, especially in the case of violent and oppressive beliefs. Religion, like hairstyle, should be a personal expression of self, not enforced by an outside agency. Any religion that punishes non-believers with violence is monstrous, and demands that non-believers stand up in any way possible, and Ms. Namazie seems to be doing a terrific job under difficult circumstances. Keep up the good work!
I love you guys. Keep up the good work.
Those involved in the Valkyrie plot against Hitler sought to show the world that not all Germans supported the Nazis. Likewise you guys are showing the world that not all those born in Muslim majority nations support Islamism, despite all the real dangers.
To all at the Council of Ex – Muslims and One Law for All
Congratulations on your 5th birthday and on all that you have achieved in a very short time.
Your organisation has fought hard to protect what is worthwhile, real democracy and justice for all, and in exposing all attempts by Muslims to undermine this and, worldwide, punish people for holding alternative views.
Long may you be successful.
I am not a rich man, but the CEMB is one of my favourite causes. It came to my attention when one of the sys admins of my favourite discussion board became involved with the CEMB discussion board, and my discussion board and the CEMB one enjoy friendly links.
At the end of the month I must have a look at my bank statement and see if I can send another small donation.
It won’t be much, I’m afraid, but still a gesture of support.
I congratulate you on the fifth anniversary of the Council of ex-Muslims of Britain. The establishment of this organisation in various countries is an important social movement in the defence of the universality of human rights, the right to leave religion and apostasy, and a challenge to the bleak political Islamic movement.
With the Koran and Islam in one hand and stoning, execution and barbarity in the other, this movement has turned the lives of millions of people living under Islamism into a nightmare for the past three decades. In Europe, its imposition of Sharia law, negation of rights, misogyny, and adverse role in education has been met with silence and appeasement by western governments and many political parties and intellectuals under the banner of tolerance.
In such a climate, the Council of Ex-Muslims has been essential to say loudly and clearly that religion must not be inherited, that leaving religion is a basic right of all human beings, that religion must be separate from the state, and judicial and educational system.
Standing up to Islamism and its barbarity and misogyny is all our tasks.
Once more, a huge congratulations.
Mina Ahadi, Founder of Council of Ex-Muslims of Germany
Congratulations on what you have achieved. Keep up the good work.
David Legge, Canberra, Australia
Keep up the good work.
Tony Dodson, Australia
Well done CEMB on reaching your fifth birthday. It is hard for anyone who leaves a religion but those who leave one which is so deeply culturally embedded are brave indeed and deserve support. History seems to show that society only gets better when people are prepared to speak up against prevailing orthodoxies and being prepared to say ‘ I am no longer a believer’ is a contribution to that process.
Very best wishes
Karen Wood, Lincolnshire, UK
Congratulations on your first five years. Continue to be brave and speak out for human rights against oppression masquerading as religion.
Free speech in all religious matters.
Freedom to choose, reject or change one’s religious beliefs.
Freedom to exercise legal rights regardless of parental cultural choice.
Religion has a place in the world – let’s make sure it keeps in its place and does not become another form of tyranny.
Many religions have treated women as second-class, but I think Islam is the worst in this respect as the current time.
Julia Gasper, UK
A great forum providing not only a lot of support through troubling times, but a place to feel at home with many intellectually stimulating as well as light hearted and fun conversations. Some lovely members who bring their individual qualities giving the forum character, enriching the experience of being involved in this community. Regular involvement of the admins/mods in matters leads to an increased feeling of security to this place, where you know any issues will be addressed and resolved as swiftly as possible. From a personal angle, this forum has been a sanctuary from troubles in the real world, a place to express myself. It has helped me connect with people that I can say I’m lucky to have had as part of my life. I’ve learnt so much from here, and have grown as a person through interactions. CEMB has played an important role in my life, my gratitude towards everyone keeping the forum alive and thriving can’t be emphasized enough.
What’s strange is that I’ve never met anyone from this forum before in person but I feel that I have friends here and it makes me happy that such a community exists and I feel quietly proud that I am part of it. I guess I owe a lot to the forum, since it was on here where I found the intellectual discourse needed to discard particular inherited views of mine which were ultimately of a divisive nature. Today I feel free and happy and have a more positive outlook regarding humanity so I thank the CEMB for that.
I would like to thank the CEMB forum for supporting me through the loneliness and confusion I felt when I was a newbie ex-Muslim and for the support it continues to show me even now, 4 1/2 years later. I use the forum now for support with personal issues, emotional issues, and even for practical advice. The members here have made this forum what it is today, always there to lend a ready ear and because we all come from such similar backgrounds we all more or less understand each other on a level I just don’t get anywhere else. Without this forum I am sure I would have spent many nights feeling more alone than I normally do and I am sure I will be a member here until the day it crumbles if that day ever comes.
Thank to all the members who are always here, not just for me but for the other members you help. You make our job as support staff easier because you as members have become so vital in the support this forum offers to ex-Muslims.
First of all, I’d like to thank the staff who run this forum. I know there’s been a lot of controversy about how they manage the place, but I really appreciate what they do. Running such a large yet intimate forum is a challenging task, never mind a forum where many people come looking for help, sometimes from abuse and risk of death.
Second, I can honestly say that this forum changed my life. People ask me how I can be so happy, what’s my secret. But I’m not a lone individual. I exist within a community. I exist with friends, people who provide the pillars that keep me high. And a great number of that support comes from people I’ve met here, with whom I’ve formed unbreakable emotional connections. When I meet people I know through this forum, I hug and talk to them like they’ve known me forever. We share such similar experiences that just them being there makes me realize I’m not alone. It makes me realize that there are other people who go through my struggles. It makes me connect with them on such a deep level that I’m almost thankful I went through the hell of Islam just to have those experiences that make me relate to the people I’ve met here. It’s as if the secret of Islam is for us to leave it and find Heaven here, on Earth — Heaven through friendship, through love, through emotional bonds. Because what else could a mortal being ask for?
I have no idea what I would’ve done, where I would be, without this place. Maybe I’d still be stuck in the pits of depression, still feel lonely, isolated, like I was the only one in this world, in this existence, to ever have the doubts I did, to ever take the path I took. Such a dark and dreary path can only be lighted with the friendships I formed here.
To an outsider, this place is just a website lost among millions on the Internet. But to me, and to many others, it’s a virtual home.
I’d like to thank the admins and the members of the forum for creating an outlet to share some the thoughts and difficulties that as a community of individuals living in different cities and different parts of the world need. For some of us living in large Muslim communities, this is the only avenue we have for letting off steam and knowing that we are not alone and that there are others like us.
The forum helped me during the crucial time three and a half years ago when I finally came to terms with my non-belief. I have made some good friends through this network and hope to make more.
I want to see the forum flourish not only for the existing members but also for the future members who need support and to know that there are others like them and we are here to support them. Also this forum is also open to Muslims who might be in doubt about their faith and also for those Muslims to understand that we are not bigots and that we have friends and family who are still Muslim whom we love. A forum for Muslims to acknowledge and understand that there are many reasons why we left theism and specifically Islam.
The forum is also a useful outlet for ex members of other religions to share common themes and concerns that we have.
I guess this forum can be the start of something positive: a greater awareness and recognition that leaving Islam isn’t a strange phenomenon, and doing so doesn’t make you a pariah in your community. People, especially Muslims, should respect each other for who they are – be they an observant son/daughter, a faithful husband/wife or, indeed, a loyal citizen of a nation. Leaving Islam doesn’t make you a bad person rather people who follow Islam to the letter can make you one!
Firstly I want to echo everyone’s statements of thanx to the [CEMB] admins and moderators of this site; without this site I guess there would be a whole lot more depression around.
When I came here nearly 2 years ago, I did not know that ex-Muslims existed, who the fuck leaves Islam, because where I come from, when you leave your religion, you’re a murtad and your family has to disown you.
While I am not a fully fledged apostate because of my marriage and family, I see myself more as a person who is Muslim in name only, no praying, fasting etc. This site has helped me accept who I am and helped me with information so that I can counter arguments with relatives to the point where they will not discuss religion with me which is a good thing.
So once again thank you for having this forum; I have grown to love this family we have here and feel the pain, sorrow, happiness, joy and hurt of every member when they go through there different issues from time to time. Not real good with words am I? From my post count you will notice I lurk a lot, but I am here every day watching and reading posts. I am learning all the time and Insh’allah one day I will not be scared to tell my relatives, hey you know what, I am not Muslim anymore !!!
I also pledge to donate £10 (does not sound like a lot, it is in South Africa) to this site by tonight. Just need to figure out how to do it
First of all, I would like to thank the mods and admins for taking their precious time to run this forum efficiently and most importantly to you [admins] Berbs and Hassan for having the impetus to open this great place for us.
This place is not only a sanctuary for me but a modern salon where great intellectual discussions (that are more worth reading and learning than in academic institutions and schools) have taken and still taking place. I remained indebted to this place to for helping me evolve out of dogmatic way of thinking, this forum have taught me the values of fundamental human rights, proper use of logic and reasoning, and have encouraged and influenced me to have a zeal in learning more about the humanity. I have learned a lot and still learning from visiting this forum. Words cannot express how glad I am to meet likeminded people here who can understand and totally relate to what I have gone and still going through. This place is like a home and a family that I feel I belong to. This forum is not a typical online forum; I have been to other forums but I didn’t last a few months before I left unlike here which i have remained since 2010 and this has been the only forum that I have become intimate with and I wish I could have joined a community like this at a young age. This forum is a testament that people from different background, ethnicity and culture can coexist and live as one, a true cosmopolitan community.
Without this forum, I think I would most likely have remain lonely and dogmatic; this forum is what keeps me sane and makes me feel that I’m not only one in this world.
Going to keep this short but sweet.
This forum has helped me understand issues in this world in terms of global politics. It has helped me realise the pains people go through when leaving religion. It has helped me feel not lonely in my endeavours with my boyfriend who is an ex-Muslim and helps me understand his position more. It has helped me support him as well. It also provides key access to resources for issues such as forced marriage key in the success for my relationship if and when needed. All in all very useful and crucial resource.
Thanks for the work guys, will donate when I have a job, poor student here.
Being an ex Muslim is for most of us a secret hidden from most people we know in real life, so coming here we find solitude in each other’s company. We support and help each other with all the troubles that come along with leaving Islam. Not only with Loneliness and identity crisis but also with issues such as fear of our lives being in danger as a result of our apostasy. We here not only help one another with these issues but also offer emotional support and empathy through our hard times. I myself do not live in the UK nor have I ever been there, but this place is just as important to me as to everyone else. I found this place during a very painful part of my life. I never knew about other ex Muslims out there and thus lived a very lonely and isolated life, where I thought I was the problem, why couldn’t I be normal like everyone else I often thought. This place showed me how I wasn’t the problem but the world I lived in that was wrong. I found people struggling with the same issues as myself and that in itself was a huge relief for me, it gave me a sense of community feeling I had never experienced. I now know that we are many people out there in need of help and support unfortunately most of us walk around not knowing about this community. We need to reach out to more people because I know how they are feeling and there is nothing more tragic than feeling helpless without anyone out there who can help and offer you support. I can’t describe how much this place has meant for me, it is as if I have seen the light at the end of the tunnel and now see how others who once where in my situation get out and live free.
I can’t explain how important it is to have an association and forum for ex-Muslims. We can’t come out to the world without it resulting in serious consequences, we need this sanctuary because we have no other place to go, this forum is where we can speak freely and share our life stories to the outside world in peace.
Have a great day; hope it’s a party.
Thanks for what you are doing, really appreciate it.
This is a day we all celebrate being humans and enjoy living thoughtfully. Thanks to CEMB for creating such a platform where we can meet like-minded individuals, share our experience and learn from others. Have a great 5th anniversary.
Nahla Mahmoud, Sudanese Humanists Group, UK
On behalf of Sidmennt, the Icelandic Ethical Humanist Association I send our warmest congratulations on the 5th anniversary of the Council of Ex-Muslims of Britain. We deeply admire your bravery, strength, and commitment.
Hope Knutsson, president of Sidmennt, Iceland
Just a quick note to wish you and the CEMB all the very best on your fifth birthday next week-end. I’m sorry that I can’t be with you, but i support wholeheartedly all your efforts to promote a secular and tolerant society.
All the best
Cllr. Dr. Nader FEKRI J.P., Lib Dem, Calderdale, UK
I congratulate British ex-Muslims for their bravery. Even though I do not consider myself an ex-Muslim because I was never really a Muslim or a believer, I feel close to Maryam Namazie and the other members of the ex-Muslim organisation. Atheists who were Christians but became atheists later do not call themselves ex-Christians. Why should atheists who were Muslims or born in Muslim families but became atheists later be called ex-Muslims? We should not be identified separately from other atheists. Fighting Islamists and Islam is not only our responsibility; it is the responsibility of all sane people. We are all here to make the world a better place.
Taslima Nasrin, Author, India
Having read up on what you guys are doing, and have been through, I would like to say you have my deepest respect… In your world and mine, we are all working towards the highest achievement of man; peace. I believe we can achieve this with the shared knowledge and empathy that comes from the hearts of good people with good intentions… I wish you the best of British luck…
Si Genaro, Musician, UK
Congratulations to the Council of ex-Muslims of Britain on your fifth anniversary.
I feel it is the moral responsibility of all decent and rational thinking people to show support to Maryam and the organisation.
More non Muslims ‘like myself’ need to show support for organisations like this. The CEMB is not only defending Muslims from archaic laws and practices but helping to stop communities in our society segregating themselves of from one another.
Best of luck for the future,
Alistair Barbour, Cumbria, UK
On behalf of the Board of Directors of Atheist Alliance International I wish to congratulate the Council of Ex-Muslims of Britain for reaching their fifth anniversary. It takes great courage to leave the beliefs one is indoctrinated into for a path of intellectual freedom, it takes even greater courage to do so publicly, specially knowing the full ramifications of such an action for a Muslim.
With the best and most secular wishes,
Carlos A. Diaz, President, Atheist Alliance international
To The Council of Ex-Muslims who helped to save my life from Islamic terror, and to Maryam Namazie, the iron woman, who is doing a very great work for the cause of liberty of conscience and all the human rights involved with it. I wish them good luck for the celebrations of the 5th anniversary of the Council on Saturday 23 June 2012.
Kacem El Ghazzali, Blogger, Switzerland
It is with admiration that I congratulate the Council of Ex-Muslims of Britain on its fifth anniversary. That you and the CEMB team continue your vital work under the threat of reprisal from religious zealots is an inspiration to atheists and secularists everywhere. And although I wish CEMB the best for the next five years what I really wish is that it would become redundant instead!
General Manager, Atheist Alliance International
I also want to personally thank and congratulate you and the Council of Ex Muslim’s of Britain for the courageous and important work that you are doing.
Victor Franco, Atheist Alliance International Vice President
People who start to doubt and question the beliefs they have been surrounded with all their lives wonder if there is anything wrong with them, why can’t they “fit in” and be “normal”. The effort of pretending and the isolation of being afraid to talk with anyone who is sympathetic and non-threatening can be overwhelming. Knowing that there really is someone out there who thinks as we do, who reassures us that we are right to doubt and question and gives us practical help we need to break away from the internal and external chains is a lifeline of sanity and hope.
Muslims believe that the door out of Islam is not just barred and bolted but there is not any door at all. Escape, even that there is something to escape from, is a concept which is, literally, beyond belief and impossible.
By demonstrating that this is not so, that it is possible to be an ex-Muslim, the Council of Ex-Muslims has been doing a great service to humanity. Rather than losing everything, as we feared, we have gained enormously. We have escaped from the fog of avoiding forbidden thoughts and can think at last with clarity. We have escaped the fear and guilt of religious dogma and embraced the true morality of empathy for all sentient life. Many of us have been cast out from family and society. The shallow camaraderie of common dogma brooks no rivalry from the sentimental attachment of unquestioning love. That is due only to the prophet and his alter-ego. It certainly came as a huge surprise for me to find among us unbelievers the same love and true friendship that is the best nature of our species, unsuppressed by the need to conform to rigid norms.
The work you are doing is timely. It is the need of the hour. Information is spreading relentlessly. The old answers don’t serve any more. The forces of conservatism are mounting a last ditch attempt to try to halt the flow. In even the sham moderate countries people are being thrown in jail for daring to tweet or post information to each other – information that will blow away the fog of Islam and the cobweb encrusted myths of religion. We need to shout louder and louder – YOU ARE NOT ALONE – THE WORLD IS WITH YOU – THE FUTURE IS YOURS – DO NOT GIVE UP.
Cells of solidarity are growing. Resistance is spreading in even the darkest places. A lot has happened in five years and a lot more will happen in the next five. Keep up the fight. Thank you.
Rafiq Mahmood, Teacher, Indonesia
To become an “Ex” of any religion needs intelligence and education. To become an Ex-Muslim needs courage as well. Maryam Namazie has the additional ability to inspire others to follow her admirable example. Many congratulations on the fifth anniversary of the Council of Ex-Muslims of Britain.
Richard Dawkins FRS, University of Oxford, UK
The Council of Ex-Muslims performs a vitally important service to the cause of liberty of conscience and all the human rights involved with it. I applaud its courage, humanity, determination and persistence.
A C Grayling, philosopher, UK
Congratulations to the Council of Ex-Muslims on your fifth anniversary. You have defied threats and intimidation to stand up for the freedom of all to think and believe as they wish. These are easy principles for we humanists to uphold, but ex-Muslims take their life in their hands when they proclaim themselves non-believers. Maryam Namazie herself deserves special praise for her bravery.
Polly Toynbee, President, British Humanist Association, UK
Dearest Maryam, congratulations on the survival and continuing growth of the Council of Ex-Muslims. It’s a desperately needed group and community for people who want to escape one of the most binding and demanding communities that humans have ever created. From a community where the punishment for leaving is death to one where there is no punishment – what a hopeful inspiring journey for anyone, and how wonderful that it has achieved five years of existence.
Ophelia Benson, Author, USA
On behalf of the Token Skeptic podcast, I congratulate The Council of Ex-Muslims for their continued bravery and efforts in the face of enormous challenges. As an educator and friend of former Islamic students, I am proud to hear of your fifth birthday and know that there are many Australians who wish you the very best.
Token Skeptic podcast, Australia
Many congratulations on your 5th birthday. Keep up the great work!
Jesus and Mo author
Many happy returns! I’m stuck in the US, but I’ll be raising a glass to you. Thank you for all the good you do!
Dana Hunter, Blogger, USA
Best wishes for the Council of Ex-Muslims of Britain’s 5th birthday. I admire your courage, Maryam, and the courage of the many others who openly declare themselves to be ex-Muslims.
Bernard Hurley, Mathematician, UK
Good luck with your celebrations of the 5th anniversary of the Council of Ex-Muslims of Britain on Saturday 23 June 2012.
Public awareness of the CEMB is growing which is encouraging for all. Please keep up the good work.
Dave, Kingston upon Thames, UK
The Council of Ex-Muslims are brave and wonderful people. I can’t think of a more worthwhile secular organization.
Very best to all
Stephen Law, Centre for Inquiry UK
On behalf of the Committee and members of the Central London Humanist Group, I would like to congratulate your Council on reaching its 5th anniversary. We admire the courage and determination shown by yourself and all of your colleagues and you can be assured that we will continue to give you our wholehearted support. I hope that a number of us will be able to join you at your celebratory lunch on Saturday 23rd June.
Very best wishes
Alan Palmer, Chair, Central London Humanist Group, UK
All the very best with your celebrations. The world desperately needs more wonderful people like you
Joe Lane, Australia
I have to say I have nothing but admiration for your organisation. You and your associates, members and supporters are seriously sticking your heads above the parapet in opposing Muslim ideals.
As an atheist, I regard all organised religions with a large degree of scepticism. But in the area of sexual politics the male dominated Islamic tradition is most insidious. I really struggle with the notion of some (comparatively) free western women finding this way of life attractive. But what do I know?
Ken Ward, UK
I live in USA and will not be able to attend but my spirit will be with you. Recently I have read the book Why I am not a Muslim by Ibn Warraq. This is an excellent source for accurate knowledge about Islam. After reading it I understand why you celebrate being Ex-Muslim.
Janusz Kowalik, Prof of Computer Science, Poland
I send my congratulations to the Council of Ex-Muslims on reaching their fifth anniversary — to all the members and founders but of course especially to Maryam who had the vision to bring to reality this concept which I wouldn’t have thought actually possible! I just regret that I can’t become an ex-Muslim myself (other than in the view of the Dawah people who told me I was born a Muslim already).
Robin P Clarke, UK
I am too far away to come, but I wish you a good success.
Adolf Breitmeier, Germany
I feel that most people, brought up in a family and culture with a religion, need support from others when they change their beliefs and leave.
Brought up myself in a family and education dominated by the Church of England (Christian group), it took me a long time to clear my mind of the ideas which were instilled in me. Only when my mother died did I feel free to become an ardent atheist.
Your work is very important.
Mike Maybury, Portsmouth, UK
I hope you all have a wonderful day, you deserve it. Unfortunately, I won’t be able to make it as I don’t get back to London until the 28th June.
Keep up the good work. And keep spreading the word.
Best, Paul, UK